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On-Demand Oil–Water Separation by Environmentally Responsive Cotton Fabrics

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posted on 18.07.2019, 15:17 by Meina Xiao, Yinghui Huang, Anli Xu, Tongtong Zhang, Chengdong Zhan, Liangzhi Hong
Environmentally responsive cotton fabrics were fabricated by dip-coating ABC miktoarm star terpolymers, which contain reactive poly­(3-triisopropyloxysilylpropyl methacrylate) blocks, hydrophobic poly­(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) blocks, and hydrophilic poly­(N,N-dimethylaminoethyl methacrylate) (PDMAEMA) blocks. The functionalized cotton fabrics with perfectly alternating PDMS and PDMAEMA blocks show underoil superhydrophobicity and underwater superoleophobicity. The wettability and permeability of the functionalized fabrics can be readily adjusted by the contacting medium. More interestingly, surface reconstruction causes a reduction in the breakthrough pressure of the nonwetting phase. The adaptive permeability endows the functionalized cotton fabrics with the capability to separate heavy oil–water–light oil ternary mixtures.